That day was anything but a bowl full of cherries.
The door to my sister’s loft opened, a frosty version of my husband appeared. Ice crystals were stuck to his scruffy beard and eye lashes.
“Here,” he passed me a box and gave me a peck on the cheek. “It’s for your mother.”
I opened the cardboard box and peered inside. “A pie?”
“Yes, ”Jeff nodded. “A pie.”
Not just any pie, but a Bea’s ho-made cherry pie, that travelled two days through blizzard and ice storms from Door County to Grand Rapids to get to my mom during her final hours of hospice.
I picked at the cherries poking through the lattice top. “She can no longer eat, nurse ” I wiped the tears from my eyes. “All she is taking is morphine through an eye dropper.”
“Well, let’s see about that.”
Jeff scraped up some of the gooey cherry juices to dab on her lips and put them on a spoon. Then he held my hand and walked me into my sister’s room which was transformed into a hospital ward. My mom sounded like a steam engine, her cheeks puffing out with every breath.
“They call them death rattles.” I squeezed Jeff’s hand.
Her life was gone. Her spirit was gone. But her appetite for cherry pie?
It was alive as ever.
“Here Mom,” Jeff wiped his teary eyes. “It’s your pie. And it’s OK that you eat it in bed.”
We dabbed the cherries on her lips. She licked the juice and continued huffing away.
A few hours my mom passed away.
I will always wonder if my mother was waiting to see her son in law or waiting for the pie.
That was one year ago today.
Mom was famous for bedtime snacks that went beyond cookies and milk. It wouldn’t be unusual to find her nibbling on an extra crispy piece of KFC or have a pint of ice cream between the sheets.
That’s why I want to honor my mom by eating ice cream in bed today. And cheezits. and cherry pie.
Mom got an unexpected visitor in heaven this week, Carolena Elowsky. Carolena had a genuine love for my mother, which will always be remembered.
Who knows, maybe they’re eating ice cream, too.